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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

California Man Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Role in Multi-State Recovery Home Patient Brokering Scheme

TRENTON, N.J. – A California man was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to broker patients as part of a multi-state patient scheme in which recruiters were directed to bribe drug-addicted individuals to enroll in drug rehabilitation, U.S. Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Dr. Akikur Mohammad, 58, of West Hills, California, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan, to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to violate the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (EKRA). Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today by videoconference.

EKRA, enacted by Congress in October 2018 as part of a broader package of legislation aimed at combatting the opioid crisis, bars the payment of kickbacks in exchange for the referral of patients to drug treatment facilities. Mohammad’s EKRA conviction is among the first such convictions in the country using the new charge.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

A number of conspirators owned and operated a marketing company in California. They used the marketing company to help orchestrate a scheme in New Jersey, Maryland, California, and other states that involved bribing individuals addicted to heroin and other drugs to enter into drug rehabilitation centers, generating fees from those facilities. One facility in California that paid such referral fees was owned and operated by Mohammad. His facility and other facilities typically paid the marketing company a fee of $5,000 to $10,000 per patient referral.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Mohammad to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $493,104.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Messenger in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the FBI, under the direction of Assistant Director in Charge Kristi Koons Johnson in Los Angeles, California, and the District Attorney’s Office in Orange County, California, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Gould, Chief of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.

Topic(s): 
Health Care Fraud
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
22-195
Updated May 24, 2022